“WHATEVER YOU DO, WORK AT IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AS WORKING FOR THE LORD, NOT FOR HUMAN MASTERS, SINCE YOU KNOW THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE AN INHERITANCE FROM THE LORD AS A REWARD. IT IS THE LORD CHRIST YOU ARE SERVING.” — COLIOSSIANS 3:23, 24
I’ve been working with my dad at a non-profit organization he started in 1994 for the past 7 years. Throughout this time I’ve gone through many paradigm shifts in my own spiritual journey. One of those has been a very basic principle that we teach, and it is that your work matters to God.
I knew the gist of this idea when I started working there, but it didn’t become a revelation to me until a couple years ago when my heart began to break over the thought that there were people who didn’t understand it.
I said to God, “God, how do we change the culture around us and bring heaven to earth if people spend all their time and focus at church?”
At this point, information became revelation as I realized how important the idea of faith at work really is–a way to bring the kingdom of God to earth, one person at a time.
HERE ARE SOME PRACTICAL TIPS YOU CAN APPLY TO HELP YOU LIVE OUT YOUR FAITH AT WORK
1. Put God first.
Putting God first seems like a simple idea. If we put God first in everything we do, then we’re doing it with the right intention–to please Him.
But often our own motives come into play. What about my achievements? What about financial security? What about that big house?
God doesn’t mind that we have these things, but He wants to be first, so that our own desires don’t consume us. Is God first in your life?
“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” — 1 John 2:16
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
— Matthew 6:33
2. Start your day with gratefulness.
When we begin our days by being thankful, we can focus on what’s right in our world versus what’s wrong. It’s been said that you get more of what you focus on, so it makes sense to be thankful!
Also, gratefulness removes entitlement, because by being thankful we’re practicing contentment. Each of us can cite at least one thing we’re thankful for–and that is salvation through Jesus Christ!
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” — 1 Timothy 6:6
3. Treat others with love and respect.
This is a tough one, and there are times when I struggle. But at the end of the day, only love remains. So then this becomes our goal: how much can we love others before we leave this world?
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”— 1 Corinthians 13:13
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:44, 45
4. Work hard.
This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves–seeing a lazy Christian!
If we work hard for our employers, then we both prove our trustworthiness to them, and we set an example for our coworkers. Conversely, if we’re lazy or we fail to do the job at hand, then we become a bad example, and we lose our credibility. Are you a hard worker?
“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”— Proverbs 13:4
“Don’t you remember, dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.”
— 1 Thessalonians 2:9
5. Be honest.
Let’s face it: many of us wonder about the honesty of those in government and people who work on Wall Street–and for good reason. Studies have shown honesty is the number one trait people look for in a leader. A recent Wall Street poll revealed that 70% of the public feels those in business are dishonest and greedy.
“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” — Proverbs 12:19
“The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.” — Proverbs 11:5
6. Be encouraging.
No one wants to be around a downer. As Christians, our lives should be attractive to unbelievers! The Bible exhorts us to be encouraging and full of joy.
“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” — Ephesians 4:29
“When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow." — John 15:10, 11
7. Share your faith when asked, but don’t argue.
There is a fine line when it comes to sharing our faith at work. Many companies have policies in place about proselytizing. But, if we live our lives in such a way that people ask about our beliefs, we are definitely allowed to share them!
“Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”
— 2 Timothy 2:23, 24
“And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” — 1 Peter 3:15-17
"When we’re faithful in the small things, we can be trusted with even greater things. The small things are a test to see if we can be trusted with the responsibilities God wants to give us." — Charis Hillman Brown
8. Be faithful in the small things.
I think this one is tough for most people. We don’t want to wash the dishes or clean the toilets when we’ve been called to great things!
But, when we’re faithful in the small things, we can be trusted with even greater things. The small things are a test to see if we can be trusted with the responsibilities God wants to give us.
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” — Luke 16:10
“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’”— Matthew 25:23
9. Pray without ceasing.
God calls us to “pray without ceasing.” If we’re in a constant posture of prayer, who is to say that we won’t receive strategies, ideas, and solutions from heaven?
Likewise, we should be willing to pray for anyone in our midst who needs prayer, whether they know of our prayers or not.
Once I was working in management at a major department store, and one of our employees had a headache. He was a Christian, and I asked him if I could lay hands on him and pray for him. He said yes, and so I did. We prayed, and a little while later he was feeling better! You never know what prayer can do.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” — Colossians 4:2
“Never stop praying.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:17
10. Keep an eternal perspective.
We must keep in mind that everything we see will fade away. Every day, we have to ask ourselves the question, “Am I storing up treasures in heaven?”
Even in our work, God can use us to be a light in the world, as we learn to seek Him and listen to His voice. How will He use you to draw others into the kingdom? He can use you where you are, right now.
“Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” — Matthew 6:20
“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.” — 1 Corinthians 9:25
11. Solve problems.
Everywhere Jesus went, He solved problems. From Peter’s fishing problem to eternity, Jesus provided a solution. He solved the problem of feeding 5,000. He told Peter how to pay his taxes: catch a fish, and find a coin in its mouth. He saved the life of a prostitute from being stoned. In almost everyone he encountered, he solved a problem before he spoke about their spiritual condition.
“Then He said, ‘Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!’ So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.” — John 21:6
“Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.” — John 11:26
12. Work for God, not for people.
We will often work for or with difficult people in our lifetime. But if we can stay focused on God throughout, we can glorify Him in all we do.
So, what does this mean for us?
God has called us to work and His Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 exhorts us to spread His word and make disciples in all nations. It is through our work that we have the greatest opportunities to reach people and live out our faith so that others can see Him through us!
Charis Hillman Brown is passionate about raising up the next generation of leaders. She writes and speaks to the young adult age group to help them see their work as ministry, and has a passion to see people succeed in every area of life. She works with her dad, Os Hillman, who is an internationally recognized leader on faith and work. (www.MarketplaceLeaders.org) Charis is married to her best friend Justin, and they live near Atlanta with their cat, Mick Jagger. She blogs regularly at www.the17graceconnection.com.Read More Articles by Charis Hillman Brown